Learning through play: art

The art area in an early childhood classroom offers a wide variety of materials for children to use to explore and create. Children will strengthen their fine motor control while sculpting with play dough or clay. They will be working the muscles in their hands. They will need to properly hold a pencil and write neatly when they get older.

Children are able to express their emotions in the art area. They can use materials, set up in the classroom by the teacher, to create masterpieces of expression. If children are happy they may draw a bright colorful picture that shows their emotions. Talking to children about their artwork is very important. Ask them to tell you about their drawings or creations. Ask them why they chose those pieces to glue on their pictures. After a child describes a picture to you, write down the explanation. This adds a language dimension to the art experience.

Children learn about experimenting and science while creating in the art area. They may spend time mixing colors and learn that yellow and blue make green. If you encourage children to join you in making play dough, they can see what happens to dry ingredients when a liquid is added. If children spend time building three dimensional creations, they learn about creating a stable bottom to their structure and how to balance their creation so it doesn’t fall down. Children will learn many skills in the art area when given the opportunity to be creative.